Please stop calling me bro

Things people have said to me instead of just getting my pronouns right.

TW: Misgendering

Imagine this: you’ve spent hours following a YouTuber’s glossy eye makeup tutorial and after fucking up 3 times you finally get it right. You intentionally threw on your best non-gendered but not athleisure outfit. You managed to make it to the restaurant at a kinda decent time. You confidently introduce yourself to everyone at the table and say your pronouns are THEY/THEM and grab a seat. And then suddenly a well-meaning midwestern white man turns to you and says - “wait, question, why is your name Kile? Isn’t that a masculine name bro?”

Congratulations, you have entered the world of being a Black Non-Binary Femme! Where you could be in full glam, have a cute crop top on with your pronouns displayed in a poppin’ aesthetic font, rock cute gold Etsy bamboo earrings that say THEY/THEM, and verbally introduce yourself with your correct pronouns. Unfortunatly, for some reason, it’s easier to say “sorry dude you have to educate me” than simply address people correctly. But the fact of the matter is, queer people aren’t here to educate anyone.


I’ll admit, I usually just hang out with queer folx because with them I don’t have to teach a gender studies course every time I enter a room. Also, when I am in queer spaces my pronouns are they/them, where the weed at, bitch, slut, turn that shit up, and ho — and I find every nuance of that language affirming in ways that straight people will never be able to comprehend. Oftentimes, when I am with the straights, the person I thought I was is suddenly transformed into this magical queer enigma whose main purpose in life is to give you styling tips and listen to you vent about your ex for 45 minutes while you say things to me like “man, why are women like this?” While I think to myself, I don’t know maybe they would rather be with someone who listens, takes initiative, understands their privilege, and respects the identities of ALL people. But I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

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I’m saying all this to say: if you misgender someone simply correct yourself and move on. We don’t owe you an explanation, we don’t have to operate within your limited cis-imagination of what transness should be, and whether someone’s pronouns are they/them, ze/zim, she/her, he/him, non of the above, or all of the above, that person’s identity is not a suggestion or a jumping-off point for you to display your cis-ignorance. That person’s identity is their identity. Queer people are not here to be your stylist, your professor, your therapist, we are here to take up space on our own terms. And after years of coming to terms with who I am, your willful ignorance comes across as violence. So if you don’t want to get read for filth, please get my pronouns right and stop calling me bro. And if that is something you aren’t willing or capable of doing, please stay out of queer folx business. Period.

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This song is by my favorite black non-binary artist Chav. Watch closely and you might see a familiar unapologetically black-and-queer-face.

Remember you are more valuable than you know.

Kile Atwater